Cobra Break Out EP

In contradistinction to most new Japanese bands, COBRA is sticking to their punk origins rather than speeding up. This record showcases a basic mid-tempo guitar-heavy assault with melodies and backing choruses. “Oi Tonight” is particularly engaging.

Cobra 1984 EP

COBRA sounds something like a Japanese version of the TOY DOLLS, with their high-pitched vocals and studied pop-punk trappings. “Real Now” is a delicious burst of power-chord pop, but in fact the whole EP demonstrates fine songwriting abilities. Atypical punk for Japan, but strongly recommended.

Cobra Stand the Pressure LP

Catchy sing-along choruses backed by clean, simple thrash, topped off by clever hooks. At times, close in comparison to certain types of English pop-oriented Oi. In fact, this band has a song titled “Oi Tonight.” Not earth-shattering, but still worth looking into. Enjoyable. Flexi included.

Freedom Last Revolution EP

A fine puzzle record in the grand tradition of MORNINGTON CRESCENT, which can be played at 33 or 45 with equal ease. The lyrics are ultra-gruff, like fellow Japanese GISM, but the instrumental backdrop has elements of both metal punk and mid-tempo rock, with prominent lead breaks. “Shit Babies” is appealing, but the EP’s title cut is more memorable, with its classic vocal choruses. Good record!

Junk Schizo Crime of Existence EP

Quite an unusual record. While it’s definitely got its punk and hardcore aspects, there’s a lot of originality in rhythms and structure. Apparently, these guys shun the local scene, and it shows in their lack of imitation—the best Japanese record I’ve heard in awhile.

Kyah Slapdash EP

More straightforward fast punk than their debut EP, this one rips. The addition (I believe) of the COMES vocalist adds some real punch to the singing attack (lots of back-up choruses, too), and this all-female combo has left the ranks of the amateurs. Hot, from Japan.

Laughin’ Nose Get the Glory / I Can’t Trust a Woman 7″

This band should rule the world. They let other idiots do it, and LAUGHIN’ NOSE are much funnier. This band make the TOY DOLLS seem like the merry-go-round compared to the intense coaster. LAUGHIN’ NOSE is jovial, funny, and the lyrics will keep you rolling. Both these songs were on the Hardcore Unlawful Assembly comp LP, yet are still classics and worthy of any collection. No, this isn’t thrash, but hilarious antics in the DICKIES’ vein. Great!

Laughin’ Nose Never Trust Women EP

The Japanese version of the TOY DOLLS? This band puts forth four long, repetitious pop-punk fun songs. Almost too cute and too fun, the songs just seem to go on forever and really lack that extra punch. The exception is “No More War”—which is harsher and stronger (and also the only serious song here).

Lip Cream Night Rider More Than Fight EP

The pounding, abrasive punk on this Japanese five-track EP seems rather fuzzy and ill-defined—which may be a mutual function of uneventful songwriting and lackluster production. The title track is fairly strong, but this is a severely uneven follow-up to their creditable debut.

Outo Many Question Poison Answer EP

Graunched out growlings that spit out the tonsils are the focus of this Japanese power unit that pours out the distortion and whining feedback. Speed and chaos in the vein of DISORDER/CHAOS UK, with thumping bass ferocity that will erupt your senses with this intense barrage. OUTO has a pile-driving, no-holds-barred approach to chaotic madness, your ears will never be the same.

V/A Hardcore Unlawful Assembly LP

Another savage onslaught of that brutal Japanese hardcore. Featuring those masters of growling ferocity, GISM, with two power-crazed cuts. OUTO speeds rapidly with harsh vocals. BAWS come off as an aggressive COCKNEY REJECTS, with lots of chants and Oi stylings. ZOUO plunge into some metallic pieces like a young GISM, with lots of effects. LAUGHIN’ NOSE strikes with a melodic punk appeal, like current YOUTH BRIGADE numbers. MOBS is GISM Jr.—grinding, growling, with all that iron grit edge. COBRA hits with some early garagy punk sounds. And LIP CREAM charges forth with some manic thrash assaults, fast and furious. A great compilation where most songs are longer than what’s in “fashion.” Thanks, Hannah!

V/A Oi of Japan LP

Well, it had to happen, an Oi LP out of Japan, and it carries all those classic poundings from the English Oi hey-day. Chunky beats with sing-along chants and some wackiness, too. A wide variety of styles to choose from, with BAD VULTURES, COCKNEY COCKS, WANDERERS, BULL THE DOGS, and more. Fun and crazed.

Warpainted City Indian Terror Boogie 12″

Solid strength with harmonious riffs that has a total MOTORHEAD feel to it. Vocalist has a rough edged style and spitting punk feel with metallic influences, smashing drums and drooling guitar piercings. Tight, well played songs in a totally different Japanese style.